The New England Patriots haven’t been afraid of making trades this offseason, acquiring WR Brandin Cooks, TE Dwayne Allen, and WR Phillip Dorsett in a series of surprising moves. But the biggest trade in Boston for 2017 was in the NBA between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Celtics sent Isaiah Thomas and a few other players and picks to the Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving in a trade that stunned the basketball world. The trade was so notable that even Patriots QB Tom Brady had to step in.
“When the trade news broke, I got a lot of messages,” Thomas wrote at The Players Tribune. “They had my texts, IG, Twitter, voicemail, you name it, just blowing up. But there was one message in particular, out of all of them, that really stuck with me. It was from Tom Brady.
“What’s up, IT, I heard about the news. You good?
“I’m alright. I mean, it’s crazy. It’s a cold game.
“Yes it is. Best of luck. You’re gonna do great. Keep in touch.
“It wasn’t about what he said, exactly — though it was cool for him to say all that, no doubt. But it was more just everything it meant, I think, that stuck with me. To be getting a personal message like that from someone like Tom, who is such a Boston sports legend … I mean, it was bittersweet.”
Thomas is a noted fan of Brady. He even wore a Brady jersey to the Patriots divisional round game against the Houston Texans this postseason.
Video: Celtics Isaiah Thomas, in his Brady jersey, gets fired up with LeGarrette Blount pic.twitter.com/ZIOsPE1S2q— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) January 15, 2017
Apparently Brady sent the jersey to Thomas with the note, “Keep Ballin’” and the two frequently texted each out throughout the year.
Thomas had envisioned his time to be just like Brady’s, writing, “I look at a career like Tom’s with the Patriots — and that’s exactly the kind of career that I had hoped to be building here with the Celtics: Being this low draft pick … coming in without acclaim … and then — through hard work, and determination, and some talent that maybe people had overlooked — just starting to win, and win, and win. And then establishing a legacy of winning. And then staying in Boston, winning titles and competing like hell, for the rest of my career — until I was considered one of the all-time Boston greats. That’s the career that I had started to map out for myself. In my mind, I wanted to be the Celtics version of Brady and Ortiz. I wanted this next era of Celtics basketball to go down in history — and I wanted to go down in Boston sports history with it.”
But now that Thomas is in Cleveland, he won’t be able to become the next Brady or David Ortiz (Ortiz sent Thomas a message of his own) to Boston. He will continue to build his legacy as a competitor that moved from team to team and his Boston legacy will be more Randy Moss than Tom Brady.
And with further reflection, Thomas came to appreciate where he stands in the lore of Boston sports and that the length of time shouldn’t take away from his impact on the city.
“But then I thought about the text some more,” Thomas wrote, “and I think I changed my perspective a little. I think I realized that, like, Yo — that’s Tom Fucking Brady. And I was only here for two and a half years. Tom Brady isn’t sending a text like that to guys who played in Boston for only two and a half years — unless they did something very special. So maybe, I don’t know … maybe that’s something to be proud of. And maybe, my time here … even if, in the end, I guess it wasn’t quite what I’d dreamed it would be — maybe it still meant something to some people.”
Read Thomas’ piece at The Players Tribune here. You won’t regret it.